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Fiat Ritmo Now In Australian Showrooms



7th April, 2008

Fiat Ritmo

Following its Australian unveiling in Brisbane earlier this year, the all-new Fiat Ritmo is now in Australia’s Fiat dealerships, providing Italian flair in the small car market.

"Along with the new Fiat 500, the Ritmo redefines Fiat’s position in the Australian market," says Edward Butler, General Manager for Fiat cars in Australia. "In a market sector that rarely offers customers cars that offer styling flair, the Fiat Ritmo is a breath of fresh air that makes a statement as strong as Punto and the new 500 in their market sectors."

“The Ritmo is powered by two unique engines, the new 1.4 litre T-Jet Turbo petrol engine that pumps out 110 kW and which offers the ability to provide more acceleration literally at the press of a button, and the acclaimed 1.9 litre JTD Multijet diesel. Equipment levels are lavish and pricing is keen, so the Ritmo will enable Fiat to take the next step up in our growth plans for the marque in Australia.”

“The Fiat Ritmo,” says Mr Butler, “is a car that appeals to both the brain and the heart, not to mention, with prices starting at an RRP of $29,990 for a fully equipped Ritmo, the wallet, too.”

Initially Fiat will offer four versions of the Ritmo in Australia, with additional models to arrive in 2008, including self-shifting gearbox versions. The two trim and equipment levels, Emotion and Sport, are offered with a choice of the advanced 1.4 litre 110 kW T-Jet petrol engine and the 1.9 litre 110 kW JTD Turbo Diesel, with prices starting with a recommended retail price of $29,990 for the Fiat Ritmo Emotion T-Jet.

Augmenting an interior design founded on the fundamental pre-requisites of class-leading space, exemplary build quality, and visual and tactile sophistication, the new Fiat’s equipment specification has been carefully considered to simplify and enhance life on board. Interior trim is not just good to look at; it also provides a wonderful tactile experience, with different textures to delight on touch for interior trim and upholstery.

Both Emotion and Sport versions are fully equipped, offering electric windows and exterior mirrors, cruise control, power steering, remote central locking, an advanced audio system, AirCon, alloy wheels and a host of other features as standard.

As befits its name, the Sport adds comprehensive performance orientated equipment package, including rear spoiler; side skirts; Climate Control AirCon; sports pedals; front sports seats with lumbar adjustment of driver’s seat; leather sports steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake knobs; sports upholstery, red brake callipers and 17” sports alloys with 225/45 tyres.

The Sport versions also come with the innovative Blue&Me integrated telematics system developed in a joint venture with Microsoft, which has proven so popular that more than 20 per cent of Fiat vehicles sold in Europe are now equipped with it. In simple terms, it offers hands-free system with Bluetooth™ technology with steering wheel controls, instrument panel with multifunction display, MP3 audio file player from a USB port and SMS text reader.

While right is fully endowed with Italian ‘brio’ and spirit, it is also supported by cutting edge design and development technology that ensures that its beauty is also more than matched by brains.

The new Ritmo, using a name derived from the Italian word for rhythm  was designed in just 18 months from design ‘freeze’ to production. To achieve this record-breaking development time, Fiat employed new, groundbreaking, state-of-the-art Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) systems of unprecedented power and complexity, allowing the development of this new hatchback to be undertaken almost entirely through virtual analysis and engineering.

So sophisticated is the computer software involved, that not only could Fiat’s engineers simulate every aspect of the Ritmo’s structural, dynamic, NVH and accommodation characteristics to a level of unprecedented detail, but they were also able to design a virtual production-line to ensure consistently outstanding component and build quality.

The 1.4 litre T-Jet 110 kW turbocharged petrol engine, makes its debut in the Ritmo. This is the second example of a new family of turbocharged petrol units developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies to combine the sporting performance and low NVH characteristics of a petrol engine with fuel economy comparable to a diesel unit and CO2 emission levels which readily comply with increasingly stringent European regulation.

Through cubic capacity downsizing allied to the adoption of the smallest possible turbocharger, Fiat’s new 110 kW 1.4 litre T-Jet engine combines performance equal to a conventionally aspirated 1.8/2.0 litre petrol engine, but with a reduction of between 10% and 20% in fuel consumption and emissions.

The 110 kW 1.9 litre MultiJet unit in the new Ritmo boasts 305 Nm of torque delivered at 2,000 rpm, allowing acceleration from 0-100 kmh in some 9.0 seconds and a top speed of 209 km/h.

“The new Fiat 500 not withstanding, the Fiat Ritmo is probably the most important car that Fiat will launch this year,” says Edward Butler. “It launches Fiat into a key market sector, one which not just contains some of the key models in the market as a whole, but also which, as the market downsizes in response to environment issues and fuel prices, is becoming the most important Australian market sector. The Fiat Ritmo has the abilities to take on the key players in the market and its Italian soul will offer car buyers a car that is fresh, vital and dynamic, while being backed by state of the art safety, reliability and durability. We believe it makes a compelling case and represents one of the strongest models in its category.”

Next Car's Editor, Stephen Walker, has indicated that Fiat is continuing its slow take-off in Australia. Although the Ritmo offers diversity of the Fiat line-up, it competes against some excellent cars such as the Ford Focus, Holden Astra, Mitsubishi Lancer, Peugeot 308, Renault Megane and Volkswagen Golf and Jetta. On that basis, the Editor believes the asking price for the Fiat Ritmo seems somewhat high.

Other Fiat content: here.

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